After behaving itself for the first 2 days, the Natsu basho decided it was time to mix things up a bit, and let the men at the top of the banzuke taste some clay. All around it was a solid day of sumo, with some real crowd pleasers in the mix, and a couple of worrying indications about some favorites. Let’s launch.
Day 3 Highlights
Takagenji defeats Daishoho – Takagenji takes his third win of the basho over a frustrated Daishoho. Takagenji got the better of the tachiai, and was able to land a deep left hand inside, blocking Daishoho from getting his preferred grip. It seemed Daishoho kept trying to get something going with his blocked right hand, leaving Takagenji to control the match. Daishoho rallied for a moment, but he had no offensive sumo to work with today.
Kotoeko defeats Chiyoshoma – A lightning tachiai from Chiyoshoma nearly carried the match, but Kotoeko was able to dodge the follow up attack and rally. Both men loaded throws, but Kotoeko pulled Chiyoshoma away from his pivot leg and dropped him to the clay. Fast thinking and great execution from Kotoeko today.
Enho defeats Sadanoumi – You don’t get to see enough leg-picks in the top division, but Enho had this one dialed in. He went after Sadanoumi’s bandaged right knee, and there was nothing Sadanoumi could do to stop the loss.
Chiyomaru defeats Tokushoryu – Chiyomaru opens 3-0 after Tokushoryu can’t seem to remember how to win an oshi battle. Tokushoryu really looked like he could not commit to oshi or yotzu, and Chiyomaru made him pay.
Shimanoumi defeats Shohozan – Shimanoumi finally picks up his first win, after enduring a few good blows from Shohozan. Shimanoumi was able to lock up Shohozan’s arms, and keep him on defense.
Tomokaze defeats Onosho – Good defensive footwork by Tomokaze, he absorbed Onosho’s tachiai, and was able to stand him up, move to the side, and force the tadpole out.
Kagayaki defeats Nishikigi – Kagayaki takes control of the tachiai, coming in low and strong and hitting Nishikigi before he could even get his hands off the shikiri-sen. From there it was all Mr. Fundamentals, who seems to have shaken off some of his ring rust.
Asanoyama defeats Meisei – I really like the way Asanoyama is fighting right now. Although that sumo was some of this / some of that, Asanoyama kept a single focus of being close, inside and moving forward. It paid off as Meisei really had no chance to do anything other than react.
Kaisei defeats Shodai – Shodai has yet to take one from the Brazilian (you’ll sometimes see their head-to-head written as 1-9, but that 1 is a fusen –PinkMawashi), and I think its because Kaisei knows that Shodai’s tachiai is the worst in the top division, and as long as he can keep Shodai from moving laterally, he’s a cream puff.
Ryuden defeats Yoshikaze – Zero forward pressure from Yoshikaze. Whatever is affecting him physically has robbed him of any offensive power, which is terrible because Yoshikaze’s sumo is mostly attack.
Abi defeats Chiyotairyu – This was won at the tachiai, as Abi was able to engage first and dictate the terms of the match. Chiyotairyu struggled to even get his footing, let along respond to the double arm thrust attack common to Abi-zumo.
Daieisho defeats Aoiyama – Aoiyama had nothing today. Zip. Zero. Daieisho brought his best sumo: center mass, moving forward strongly. Right now Daieisho is doing well for Maegashira 2, and I am curious to see what kind of hell he takes from the Ozeki.
Tochinoshin defeats Okinoumi – Okinoumi made him work for it, but the crowd was cheering for Tochinoshin. It’s safe to say that for the moment, Tochinoshin looks genki and he is back to being a fearsome competitor. Tochinoshin landed his left hand early, and although Okinoumi had a lot of moves he unleashed trying to break that grip, Tochinoshin held fast.
Tamawashi defeats Ichinojo – Textbook denshamichi-sumo. Tamawashi was the Shinkansen and Ichinojo was in no position to stop him. Tamawashi put everything into a center-mass contact at the tachiai, and engaged full power forward.
Mitakeumi defeats Takayasu – Clearly Takayasu is not in good physical condition. Furthermore his sumo seems to have gotten into a vague and unaggressive state. With Takayasu’s feet seldom in good position, Mitakeumi found himself able to control the Ozeki, and bring him off balance to slap him down.
Endo defeats Goeido – Goeido-unit suffered a critical malfunction when his attempt to get a mawashi hold at the tachiai failed, and Endo capitalized on the momentary break in the Ozeki’s concentration. Endo is capable, but fans wonder why we don’t see him execute on that level every match.
Hokutofuji defeats Takakeisho – Takakeisho’s initial shove did not find its mark, and Hokutofuji closed the gap to the point where Takakeisho could not set up the wave train. Hokutofuji’s opening gambit had a very narrow path to success, but he made it work.
Kakuryu defeats Kotoshogiku – Yes, but just barely. Kotoshogiku surprised the Yokozuna with a fierce hybrid attack rather than the usual “hug-n-chug”. In reaction (that’s Kakuryu’s thing, you see), the Yokozuna loaded a throw and they both went over together, but Kotoshogiku’s right forearm made it to the clay first. (shortly followed by Kakuryu’s head. We hope he’s ok after that. –PinkMawashi)